Is that the smell of simmering marinara sauce and a creeping sense of dread? Looks like it’s time to get into some creepypasta.
Okay, so it’s not actual pasta. “Creepypasta” is a catch-all term used to describe horror legends and spooky stories that have been circulated widely throughout the internet. Some of the most famous creepypastas include the tales of Slender Man and Jeff the Killer. And just like actual pasta, there are infinite varieties of creepypasta throughout the vast, often horrifying landscape of the internet.
There are creepypastas about beloved children’s properties like “SpongeBob SquarePants” and Disney World, haunted internet files and cursed books, and scientific experiments gone disastrously wrong. Whatever floats your deeply unsettling boat, there’s bound to be a story about it.
So, it should come as no surprise that there are plenty of creepypastas that combine two of the internet’s greatest loves: video games and scaring the crap out of people. Whether it’s a story about a twisted version of a classic favorite or a lost game that you should never try to find, there are dozens of terrifying tales to choose from. So turn down the lights, lock the door, and get ready to stay up all night wondering just what that noise in the next room was, because here are some terrifying gaming creepypastas that’ll make you want to turn off your console.
Sonic the Hedgehog is one of the most recognizable video game characters out there. Since 1991, he’s been going fast, collecting rings, and enjoying chili dogs. It’s hard to imagine a version of this lovable blue hedgehog that could be scary (with the exception of some unsavory behavior here and there), but the creepypasta “Sonic.exe” manages to turn this wise-cracking hero into something quite chilling.
The story follows a teenage gamer who gets his hands on a PC port of the original “Sonic the Hedgehog” game — but something about it is not quite right. Gone is the lighthearted Sonic we all know and love, and in his place is a Sonic who’s less hungry for chili dogs and more hungry for murder and bloodshed. As the kid plays, Sonic chases Tails, Knuckles, and Robotnik through the levels and gruesomely picks them off one by one. This dark twist on Sonic captivated the imaginations of fans so much that one enterprising developer even made a fan game based on it.
Super Mario 64: Damned
One of the few video game characters more widely known than Sonic is a certain Italian plumber with a habit of jumping on Goombas and a girlfriend who just can’t stop getting kidnapped. “Super Mario 64” is a classic, a brightly-colored 90s fave, and certainly not a particularly scary game. Unless, of course, you end up with the cursed bootleg copy at the center of “Super Mario 64: Damned.”
When the narrator of this creepypasta tries to play his new copy of “Super Mario 64,” he and his girlfriend are greeted with a surprisingly gloomy sight. The skies of the Mushroom Kingdom are dark and stormy, and lightning strikes the ground in front of Mario whenever he tries to move. That’s a pretty ominous start, and it only gets worse from there. Images of Mario appear with a noose around his neck, and his body is regularly covered in wounds. The most horrific part, however, is that this cursed version of Mario has his eyes and mouth sewn shut. How is he supposed to say “It’s-a me!” now?!
One of the marks of a truly effective horror story is its ability to take something mundane and transform it into something utterly chilling. Edgar Allen Poe‘s classic story “The Tell-Tale Heart” does this with the simple thumping of a heartbeat. The creepypasta “Pale Luna” achieves this effect with one phrase: “PALE LUNA SMILES WIDE.”
“Pale Luna” is shorter than some of the more famous gaming creepypastas, but it manages to tell a very effective tale in that short time. The story tells of an obscure text-based adventure game that, due to a variety of errors that made it nearly unplayable, never circulated outside of the San Francisco Bay Area. Throughout the game, with little context, the phrase “PALE LUNA SMILES WIDE” appears.
One determined player pushes through the crashes and the glitches to reach the end of the game, and unlocks a series of coordinates. When he goes to the location, he digs up a grim surprise: the decomposing severed head of a young blonde girl.
“The Legend of Zelda” is a vast franchise with a wide variety of games to offer, but only one of them, “Majora’s Mask,” is the focus of what is arguably the most famous video game creepypasta out there: “Ben Drowned.”
“Ben Drowned” is told over the course of five text posts, as well as a series of accompanying YouTube videos that make the whole thing feel real. The eerie saga focuses on a young man who finds an old Nintendo 64 cartridge at a yard sale. The creepy old man running the yard sale explains that it used to belong to a child who “doesn’t live here anymore.” When the player boots up the game, he finds a save file titled “Ben.”
Upon opening the file, he finds that the gameplay is strange and corrupted, including a statue that follows him around, bosses that cannot be killed, and repeated scenes of Link dying via spontaneous combustion. The player begins to record his experiences, becoming increasingly convinced that the game is haunted by the ghost of a dead player named Ben. It’s one of the most elaborate video game creepypastas ever, incorporating multiple mediums into its storytelling, and its hard not to appreciate the sheer amount of effort on display here.
While “Pale Luna” is one of the shorter gaming creepypastas, the story of “NES Godzilla” is one of the longest. This story centers around a player who picks up a strange version of the NES game “Godzilla: Monster of Monsters” that goes to some outright hellish places. The player finds that this version of the game has traded the familiar giant kaiju for demonic creatures, strange symbols, and messages about his dead girlfriend.
It only gets worse from there. As the player descends further into the chaos of the game, he finds that the damage he incurs in-game is becoming all too real. As for how it ends — you’ll have to read it yourself to find out.
This is one of the few video game creepypastas to include several detailed 8-bit illustrations, depicting scenes from the corrupted version of the game alongside the text part of the story. Inspired by the creepypasta and its incredible level of detail, game developer Iuri Nery decided to take matters into his own hands and bring the tale to life as a full, playable game (per Kotaku).
Did you ever have to play typing games as a kid? Maybe you encountered “Mario Teaches Typing,” maybe you grew up in more of a “Mavis Beacon” house, or maybe you’re too young to have ever played a typing game and you’re staring at your screen with a blank expression like you were just handed a Discman from the 1990s.
For those who don’t know, typing games were a particularly stressful type of educational game that attempted to pair gameplay with exercises to bolster typing speed and technique. One such typing game (with a sinister twist) is the focus of the creepypasta “Mr. Mix.” In the story, “Mr. Mix” was a notoriously difficult typing game featuring a cartoon chef who would stir ingredients into a bowl as the player completed typing exercises.
As the story goes, this game triggered traumatic nightmares in the children who played it, though the exact cause of the nightmares could not be determined. Fascinated by the game’s famously unbeatable final level, a group of hackers got a hold of the game and broke through the code to access a previously inaccessible part of the game. No one is certain exactly what they found, but one thing is horribly clear: they saw something no one was ever meant to see.
Fallout 3 Numbers Station
“Fallout 3” was Bethesda’s first contribution to the post-apocalyptic “Fallout” franchise, and though there is a lot to love in the game, one element in particular has drawn a lot of fascination and speculation from fans: Of the game’s several radio stations, one is rumored to have more to it than meets the eye (or ear).
According to the creepypasta “Fallout 3: Numbers Station,” this station seems to broadcast gibberish, as well as a series of numbers. According to the story, this is not actually nonsense at all, but is instead an elaborate code that translates to the exact date and time of significant events. Some of the messages supposedly predict the deaths of the Queen of England and celebrity Gary Coleman, while one predicts Britney Spears winning an Oscar. Some of the messages supposedly found within the hidden station are odd, some are silly, and some are downright disconcerting.
The legend of the Numbers Station was so intriguing, yet so believable, that many “Fallout” fans have debated whether it is actually real or not.
Lavender Town Syndrome
“Pokemon Red” and “Pokemon Blue” featured the first appearances of a location called Lavender Town. This area has an eerie atmosphere, with creepy music playing in the background and a tower that functions as a burial ground for Pokemon. It’s easy to imagine it as the setting of a horror story, and that is exactly where “Lavender Town Syndrome” comes in.
The legend is short and simple: It claims that the creepy background music in this specific part of the game contained special high-frequency tones that, at the time of its release, triggered a rash of mysterious deaths and illnesses in Japan’s children. Those who didn’t die suffered from headaches and nosebleeds.
The story doesn’t stop there, either. It claims that, in 2010, an analysis of the game’s original Japanese audio revealed a hidden message from the Unown, a Pokemon that didn’t appear until much later in the franchise. The message translates to an ominous warning: “LEAVE NOW.”
Tails doll curse
Did you think the creepy “Sonic the Hedgehog” stuff was over? Nope. There’s more!
This time, it’s the racing game “Sonic R” that’s at the center of the story, and it’s Sonic’s sweet, innocent pal Tails who’s become the villain — sort of. It’s actually a doll made to look like Tails, and apparently it’s cursed. There are actually several different “Tails Doll” creepypastas, but they all have a few things in common.
In the stories, the doll appears in “Sonic R” in an unlockable “Tails Doll Mode,” which crashes the game if the player tries to team up with Sonic. The doll has a violent streak, seeking only to harm, slaughter, and consume the souls of the hapless players who stumble across it. But maybe, like the original Tails, it’s just a sweet little guy who wants a friend. There’s really only one way to find out.
Though one of the original “Tails Doll” stories has been deleted from its original home (ooh, spooky!), a creepy reading of the story available.
Pokemon Lost Silver
The “Pokemon” creepypastas aren’t over yet, either. With such an extensive franchise to explore — from games to the anime — there’s just too much content for the aspiring horror writers of the internet to leave it alone. “Pokemon Lost Silver” tells the story of yet another used copy of a game that comes with some unfortunate extras.
Like in “Ben Drowned,” the new player finds a strange save file on his game, left behind by the previous owner. The previous owner’s character, known simply as “…,” maxed out their Pokedex, money, and levels. So what happened to them? Nothing good, it would seem, as darkness slowly begins to creep in. The active party left behind by the game’s previous owner contains a warning, with a group of Unown that spell out “LEAVE,” and a Cyndaquil named “HURRY.”
Like some of the best gaming creepypastas, a determined developer created a playable version of the story that follows its events pretty closely. If you don’t want to play it (understandable), but you’re still curious about how the game came out, there are several YouTube videos of the gameplay available.
The “Luna Game” is not a traditional creepypasta, but rather a series of deliberately creepy games using warped versions of the adorable characters from the “My Little Pony” series. By now, these games have enough of a reputation to have a creepypasta wiki page and videos full of fan theories devoted to them, but it was a very different story when they first came out.
On April 3, 2011, the first “Luna Game” innstallment was uploaded to the website Equestria Daily. The game presented itself as an ordinary platformer, wherein the player could take control of a given pony. Instead of delightful gameplay and a chance to frolic through the land of Equestria, however, the unfortunate player who tries their hand at “Luna Game” is confronted with disturbing flashing images of the ponies and scary remixes of songs from the show.
There have been several follow-up games since the first, growing increasingly scary and jarring in their content as they go. As for the original game’s creator, no one knows their true identity.
The world of sandbox game “Minecraft” is populated with the annoying and exploding Creepers, but it’s not a game that most would consider especially scary. And as far as creepypastas go, the “Minecraft” legend of “Herobrine” is more mysterious than frightening, especially when compared to some of the more gruesome stories out there, but it’s still not a game where you would expect to encounter…a ghost.
In the story, an ordinary “Minecraft” player encounters another player in his game. Not inherently odd, except for one thing: he isn’t playing in multiplayer mode. The player looks like a default character, with the exception of his eyes, which are white. As the curious narrator follows the strange player, he sees things starting to go wrong in the game’s world around him. There are trees with their leaves cut off, perfect pyramids of sand, and tunnels that look like someone else built them rather than the game generating them automatically.
The player takes to some gaming forums to ask if any other players have had the same experience, but finds that all of his posts get deleted. He tries again, but his posts disappear again, and he gets a message from a player named Herobrine that says one word: “Stop.” The story eventually reveals that Herobrine may be controlled by someone who “is no longer with us,” and fans still debate whether or not the story may have some truth to it.
This particularly creepypasta is as spooky as the title is hard to pronounce. “Jvk1166z.esp” is the story of a broken “Morrowind” mod that made its way through small gaming circles, causing trouble.
As soon as players booted up the game with the mod, they noticed something was wrong. Players would constantly lose health from the beginning, and major NPCs were dead (with their corpses just lying around). The eeriness didn’t stop there, either, and the mod included a spider-like creature, a mysterious locked room, and some seriously unsettling NPC behavior. When night fell in the game, NPCs would look up and say, “watch the skies.” As the narrator of the creepypasta recounts their own experiences with the mod, they begin to realize that the lines between the game and the real world are not as clear as they once were.
Some players claim to have discovered the mod in real life, though they emphasize that anyone who downloads it does so at their own risk.
Some of the stories on this list are about massively popular game franchises, some are about odd little indie games with a creepy undertone, and others, like “The Theater,” concern truly off-putting games that have, for one reason or another, been lost forever from public knowledge.
“The Theater” tells the story of an underground game, released around the same time as “Doom,” that is incredibly difficult to find. Though the game’s design was simple, there was something about it that deeply unnerved those who played it. According to the story, the game featured a character called “The Ticket-Taker,” who would stand at the entrance of the titular theater. Sometimes, the Ticket-Taker would disappear, and the player would have to walk down an endless, winding red path until they were greeted by the figure again.
Upon looking at the Ticket-Taker, the player would begin to feel physically ill from dread. He would provide a warning, “NEVER REACH THE OTHER LEVELS,” though no further explanation was offered. Whatever it was in “The Theater” that was so discomfiting, its effects would linger with its players for quite some time after playing. This legendary title has also inspired a real-life indie game — but proceed with caution.